Iced VoVo

March 24, 2010 at 21:10 | Posted in biscuits | 8 Comments
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A little while ago, I looked at the Scotch Finger, an Aussie classic. The Iced VoVo is perhaps even more of a classic than that, and I was prompted to take a look at it by @gascrank.

It was introduced in 1906; whether there ever was a non-iced version (called, one would imagine, the  ‘VoVo’, is unclear. It still crops up in unexpected places; for example Australian Prime  Minister Kevin Rudd mentioned them in his 2007 election victory speech. There is also a large pointillist picture of an Iced VoVo on the wall of Mrs Chillikebab’s gynaecologist; this took on an even more peculiar aspect when I read a story of someone who refused to eat them as ‘they look like female genitalia’.

So what is this at once most staid yet racy biscuit? It consists of a relatively soft biscuit base that is topped with fairly thick fondant icing, with a strip of raspberry jam down the middle. It is then liberally dusted with dessicated coconut. The raspberry jam does actually contain raspberries, too. The back of the biscuit is decorated with a swirly design with ‘ARNOTT-‘ in the middle written in a circle; the position of the hyphen makes it look (to me at least) like ‘ARNOTTI’, which confused me for a while.

There are 12 of them in a packet, arranged in a tray with four little stacks of three biscuits each. This means there are actually not many in a pack; indeed the whole pack only weighs 210g. Also, unlike most other Arnott’s varieties, the pack contains no strapline. No pithy description of the biscuit is offered; presumably because everyone knows what an Iced VoVo is.

However, it seems that actually very few people know what an iced VoVo is, because Iced VoVos seem to induce amnesia. For some reason, no-one can remember what they are like, and every time they have one they are surprised anew that they do not have a marshmallow topping. I must say, I don’t quite know why this is; they are after all called ‘Iced VoVos’, not ‘Mallow VoVos’, so the clue is there in the name – it’s icing, folks. Yet when you offer one to people, you usually get this reaction:

‘Oooh! An Iced VoVo! I haven’t had one of these for ages!’. [bites into it] ‘Oh no! That’s not right. They’ve changed it; the topping is all hard – it should be soft’.

I even got that reaction from an ex-Arnott’s employee, so it’s very prevalent. Perhaps this is why Arnott’s don’t put a strapline on the pack; the line ‘not a marshmallow biscuit’, whilst helpful information for most people (it would seem), would perhaps be a bit strange, and might even cost then sales.

To me, they are a rather fussy biscuit. There’s just too much going on there; the coconut,  jam and icing all fight for supremacy on the palate, whilst the rather soft base lacks any backbone to give texture. Still, they are an Australian classic, so I should be careful about criticising them whilst my application for Australian citizenship is still pending. I believe people have been deported for less.

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